We Canadians somehow think that our medical services, hospitals and doctors are far superior to that of other countries, especially third world countries. That statement couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, many foreign countries are known for being tops in their particular specialty. The World Health Organization recently ranked the quality of health care in over 191 countries and the Canada ranked 30th. Shocked? Don’t be. Many Asian and South American countries began to specialize in certain fields to draw tourists and boost the local economy. Here’s a list of some of the top unexpected countries and what they specialize in.
- South Korea: Specializing in spinal surgeries and cancer research, South Korea has long been a leader in medical tourism to Asia.
- Singapore: This little Asian country is a power house in medical tourism. Ranking #1 in Asia and #6 overall on the WHO list, Singapore is the go to place for stem cell therapy. They have liberal laws on stem cell research and a new multi-billion dollar research facility, the likes of which is not even available in North America.
- Mexico: While not popular with actual surgeries, many people in the southwestern part of the United States travel across the border to Mexico for medical care. The uninsured and the under-insured in the United States find it much easier to pay the lower prices in Mexico for doctor’s visits and prescriptions than the inflated U.S. prices. It is all about value when traveling to Mexico and you definitely can get more for your dollar. Mexico is also getting more popular for dental services.
- India: Movies like Slum Dog Millionaire do not paint India in the best light but the country has seen a 30% increase in patients in recent years. Specializing in expensive cardiac and orthopedic surgeries, the savings in India can be tremendous. In fact, a bypass in the States could run upwards of $80,000 but, in India, that same operation could cost just $8,000 – a savings of 90%. As a Canadian, you may have to wait months for a much needed procedure through the medical system, and for many – it’s a small price to pay to get it done NOW!
- Turkey: The JCI (Joint Commission International) is the hospital accrediting body in the United States. Basically, they know which hospitals are the good ones. Turkey actually has the most JCI accredited facilities outside of the United States and specializes in eye surgeries.
- Hungary: Ironically, Hungary is known for dental work. Surely, there is a bad joke in there somewhere but the country has more dentists per capita than anywhere in the world. Dental procedures like implants, veneers and oral surgeries are popular and are offered at just 25% of the cost that a Canadian or American dentist would charge.
- Brazil: It only goes to reason that the country that gave us the Brazilian bikini and the corresponding Brazilian bikini wax, would be tops in cosmetic surgeries. In fact, Brazil has more plastic surgeons per capita than any country in the world.
When you need medical care it may pay to shop around (the world). Obviously you must proceed with great caution, do your research and always double-check before traveling for any serious procedure.
If you are planning a “Medical Vacation” that you will be claiming on your Canada Smart Plan account, please be sure to review the List Of Eligible Expenses.
NOTE: Cosmetic procedures are NOT eligible unless medically required.
When submitting an expense receipt from another country be sure to translate the receipt to English, including Date, Practitioner name and designation, procedure. additionally convert the foreign currency to Canadian Dollar equivalent.
Canada Smart Plan is a smart choice for handling your health expenses. We typically save our clients 30-40% on health expenses without paying an insurance premium.
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